I used to think whipped cream came from a can, that there was something magical about my shaking that red and white metal before tilting the plastic nozzle and squirting a generous amount either on top of a slice of pie or, more exciting, directly into my mouth. And there might be something to that. After all, you can spend $50 to buy a metal whipped cream dispenser, powered by nitrous oxide chargers (another $50 a pop for a 50 pack), to make whipped cream at home. But unless you’re planning on filling a kiddie pool with the stuff, there’s a better, more economical way. Plus, if you do it my way—by hand—you can skip arm day at the gym!
Let’s start with the basic recipe.
When I make whipped cream at home, I make a few tweaks. First, I add a bit of salt. A couple pinches, up to ¼ teaspoon, is sufficient to help brighten the notes of sugar and vanilla without making it taste salty.
Also, you don’t need a stand mixer to whip cream. All you need is a metal balloon whisk (I love my $10 Oxo) and five to eight minutes. I sit in front of the TV and get out some of my aggression this way, whisking the cream mixture vigorously until it stiffens and peaks form when you remove the whisk. This is the option that allows me to skip my bicep curls.
And, if you’re going to whip by hand and are impatient (like me), you can skip the part where you freeze the bowl and whisk attachment. Just empty an ice cube tray into a large glass bowl—the mouth should be wider than your metal bowl—and plop your metal bowl inside. The cream needs to be kept cold while you whip it, so either ice or a frozen bowl and whisk will do the trick.
Once you know the basic recipe, you can add various liqueurs or spices before you begin whipping and create a whipped cream perfectly suited for whatever you’re serving. While you can use the basic whipped cream for all of these and get guaranteed results, it’s even more fun and satisfying to play around with different flavor combinations. Plus, with barely any extra effort, your friends will think you’re a culinary genius.
Strawberry Whipped Cream Cake (with Classic Whipped Cream Frosting)
If you, like me, really enjoy the cream whipping process, and also like strawberries, get ready to have a blast. This recipe invites you to make three batches of basic whipped cream to frost a cake that’s layered with strawberries and is fluffy, light, and delicate as anything. Get our Strawberry Whipped Cream Cake recipe.
Mexican Churros and Mexican Chocolate Whipped Cream
Instead of Mexican hot chocolate, why not dip your churros into some Mexican chocolate whipped cream? All you need to do is add equal parts cocoa powder and sugar (a tablespoon or so of each) and a dash of cayenne. Get our Mexican Churros recipe.
Sour Cream Banana Bread and Cinnamon Whipped Cream
My new favorite thing is to make this banana bread (moist and with a zing that other banana breads don’t have, thanks to the sour cream), cut a slice while it’s still hot, and top it with ice cream. Of course, it gets better when you add some whipped cream to that, especially the kind with cinnamon in it (around 1/2 teaspoon). Get our Sour Cream Banana Bread recipe.
Pumpkin Pie and Pumpkin Spice Whipped Cream
This might be too much some of you, but for all us basic folks who love a healthy dose of Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes come Fall, add about a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to your whipping cream and use it to top a classic pumpkin pie. This combo might just help tide all us PSL lovers over until that magical season rolls back around. Get our Classic Pumpkin Pie recipe.
Buttermilk and Brown Butter Waffles with Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream
While vanilla extract in whipped cream adds a depth of flavor, you can elevate and enhance it by adding vanilla bean. And it’s easier than you might think. Just follow this tutorial and add the seeds from the bean before whipping. Then, since you’ve already elevated one classic, why not do it again with waffles that are better than the kind you can make from the yellow and blue box. These buttermilk and brown butter waffles with a handful of seasonal berries and a dollop of whipped cream are just the ticket for Sunday brunch. Get our Buttermilk and Brown Butter Waffles recipe.
Peach Cobbler with Bourbon Whipped Cream
So now that you have a handle on spices, try your luck at liqueur. Just one tablespoon of bourbon into your cream is all you need for a complex, earthy, adult whipped cream perfect for topping an Irish coffee or peach cobbler. The latter will transport you directly to the American South in the summertime. Get our Easy Peach Cobbler recipe.
Header image by Chowhound.